The Navy’s Pacific Fleet reports:
U.S. Navy Commander Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz has visited dozens of ports over the course of his career, but none has ever evoked the emotions that will come when his ship USS Mustin visits Cambodia in December, marking the first time in 37 years that he has returned to the land of his birth.
As a young Cambodian boy born and living in the rice fields outside of the capital Phnom Penh in the late 1960’s / early 1970’s, Misiewicz – whose birth name was Vannak Khem — wasn’t aware of the political tension building up around him. When his country plunged into turmoil, his family reluctantly gave him up for adoption to a young American woman who worked at the U.S. Embassy, allowing him to escape before the Khmer Rouge regime took over the country, eventually causing millions of deaths in what is known as the “Killing Fields.”
“I know it’s going to be very emotional,” said Misiewicz. “I was the lucky one in the family.”